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Comments on draft-connolly-text-html-00.txt

From: Bert Bos <Bert.Bos@sophia.inria.fr>
Date: Fri, 24 Sep 1999 16:19:20 -0400 (EDT)
To: www-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <14315.51461.313609.713155@www43.inria.fr>
I saw that Dan Connolly and Larry Masinter published an Internet Draft
for the long overdue update of the definition of "text/html." Good
work!

    http://www.ietf.org/internet-drafts/draft-connolly-text-html-00.txt

The draft says comments should be sent here, so here they are:

1) Dan & Larry have been a bit overzealous, because they also include
the infamous "appendix C" subset of XHTML[1] in the definition of
"text/html." That doesn't seem to be the intention of the XHTML spec.

The spec says XHTML is the first version of a new family of
formats[2], called XHTML. It's not "HTML 5.0" but "XHTML 1.0."

(I would take the easy route and reserve "text/xhtml" for it right
away, but I know that there are discussions elsewhere[3,4] about the
desirability of giving all XML-derived formats a media type with the
string "xml" in it, something like: text/xml;format=xhtml, or
text/xhtml-xml. But that is a different discussion.)

Appendix C does give hints for how to make a subset of XHTML 1.0
documents work in the majority of currently deployed HTML browsers,
but the appendix is non-normative and it doesn't require that all HTML
browsers support that subset.

I conclude (and from discussions with other people I have the
impression that I am right in this) that sending XHTML 1.0 documents
as text/html is purely a transition strategy: a cheap conversion to an
"HTML-workalike" rather than a costly one to real HTML, until such
time as enough browsers support XML. Section 5.1[4] appears to say the
same with different words.


2) The draft uses both "media type" and "MIME type". I don't know what
the preferred name is. IANA seems to use "media type" and "MIME media
type."


3) The section on magic numbers takes four paragraphs to say that
there are none. I suggest removing all but the first. The heuristics
wouldn't help with writing a "magic(4)" file.

(Also, on the 1st line of the 3rd para of this section "HTML 4.01" is
missing.)


4) Section 2 says that doctype can be used to distinguish the
versions. It should probably also say something about the absence of a
doctype, which is allowed at least in HTML 2.0. Maybe it should say
that the absence of a doctype means version 4.01 (or the "latest
version" in case there are any after 4.01). Or maybe that the absence
of a doctype means that all bets are off...


[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/
[2] http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/#xhtml
[3] http://www.imc.org/ietf-xml-mime/
[4] http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/#media



Bert
-- 
  Bert Bos                                ( W 3 C ) http://www.w3.org/
  http://www.w3.org/people/bos/                              W3C/INRIA
  bert@w3.org                             2004 Rt des Lucioles / BP 93
  +33 (0)4 92 38 76 92            06902 Sophia Antipolis Cedex, France
Received on Monday, 27 September 1999 09:28:24 GMT

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